Sikorsky RAIDER X Competitive Prototype for US Army FARA Over 85% Complete
The Sikorsky RAIDER X Competitive Prototype (CP) for the U.S. Army’s Future Attack Reconnaissance Aircraft (FARA) is over 85% complete, progressing 50% faster in production and assembly than to existing programs and resulting in a cost effective transformational aircraft.
Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin company, has made significant progress on RAIDER X, which is now a weight on wheels at the Sikorsky Development Flight Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. RAIDER X, which Sikorsky has begun to power up, has completed nearly 50% of the required system acceptance test procedures.
Sikorsky X2 technology underpins the RAIDER X design. X2 compound coaxial technology offers unmatched potential and room for growth for increased speed, combat radius and payload. This allows for a wider range of aircraft configurations for specific mission requirements.
“Our transformational RAIDER X will bring many benefits to the military, including the lowest schedule risk and greater technical maturity of FARA’s competitors,” Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo said in a statement. Lockheed Martin press release. “With X2 technology, RAIDER X has the ability to grow unlike a single main rotor configuration. We look to the future and are committed to helping the military deter threats and defend freedoms right down to the the 21st century.
Additionally, construction of Sikorsky’s second FARA fuselage is now complete. This fuselage is part of Sikorsky’s structural test program and will be used to validate the airframe’s in-flight and ground load capacity. These tests support the RAIDER X CP flight safety program and provide data to optimize and accelerate the design of the complete weapon system.
“We took an innovative approach with our second CP fuselage,” said Pete Germanowski, Sikorsky FARA Chief Engineer. “The second fuselage has not only increased the efficiency of building and testing our first CP aircraft, it gives us the ability to build it as a second CP aircraft, giving us more flexibility and greater risk reduction. ”
RAIDER X includes avionics and mission systems based on Modular Open System Architecture (MOSA) providing “plug-and-play” options for computing, sensors, survivability and weapons. X2 compound coaxial technology offers unparalleled potential and room for growth for increased speed, combat radius and payload. This allows for a wider range of aircraft configurations for specific mission requirements.
“The FARA mission requires operational flexibility, and RAIDER X provides that operational flexibility the military needs, including speed where it counts, a large, multifunctional weapons bay, and unprecedented acceleration and deceleration capability. “said Jay Macklin, director of business development for Sikorsky. “RAIDER X is the most agile, lethal and resilient aircraft, designed for vertical lift dominance against evolving threats of the future.”
Sikorsky’s powerful risk reduction tools
- Established high-tech manufacturing facilities: Lockheed Martin is backed by an established low-risk manufacturing capability, complemented by an investment of over $600 million in digital yarn and advanced manufacturing. This digital environment is integrated with all of the company’s engineering, manufacturing and maintenance personnel. With proven supply chain partners around the world, RAIDER X will leverage the advanced manufacturing processes currently used today on the Black Hawk, Combat Rescue Helicopter and CH-53K.
- Digital thread and virtual models: RAIDER X makes full use of Sikorsky’s digital wire and virtual prototyping tools to maximize the capabilities RAIDER X offers soldiers while maximizing the aircraft’s affordability and durability throughout its life cycle. These virtual models are highly reliable, physics-based simulations of our design that enable early discovery, minimize redesign, and allow future upgrades to be efficient and affordable. Implementing these advanced processes has reduced aircraft component lead time by more than 50%. Lockheed Martin began manufacturing components for RAIDER X on production tools while still in the design phase. Then, less than a year later, completed hardware components were available for customer review, including full aircraft assembly simulations for all components.
- Sikorsky S-97 RAIDER: One of the major risk reduction efforts involves the S-97 RAIDER flight test data, fully funded by Sikorsky. The S-97 RAIDER is an 80% prototype of the RAIDER X design, and the flight test program informs design decisions, correlates with a virtual prototype, and allows Sikorsky to experience the unique capabilities provided by X2 technology.
Photo credit: Sikorsky / Lockheed Martin